Bullish on New West, and wondering what’s next

It’s been with a keen interest from the perspectives of both a New West kid and that of a Realtor I’ve watched a positive renewal of many a New Westminster neighbourhood. Everyone operating within the city, visiting, or just driving through, has made note of much change. A while ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Mayor Wayne Wright and chat about this growth. Today I’ll share a few thoughts from my perspectives and conclusions from that meeting.

As a New West kid I grew to know downtown as a sketchy dilapidated pass through, home to bottle collectors, wedding boutiques, and inoperative docks that rotted in to the river. Still yet I always had great pride in my hometown and often imagined building transformative landmark buildings on the river front, in Sapperton, and elsewhere around town. While the Woodlands lands did not become new home to the Canucks I have still taken great pride in the significant investment made by private and public sectors all over town. From Sapperton, where we have a real deal grocery store, through downtown, where we see folks enjoying a meal or coffee up and down Columbia. We will soon have our own theatre, civic centre, and replacement for the rotten dock in the form of a waterfront park. All this investment in parks, streetscapes, infrastructure, sporting facilities, and more, adds to the liveability and will be a source of pride for future generations.

From the perspective of a Realtor I am very bullish on New West and make it quite well known to anyone who asks. I’ve felt that for many years prices in certain areas were depressed and lagged behind others due to the product available and stagnant public investment. Today private investment from a wide array of developers has funnelled in and boosted supply of new condos. Transforming old buildings or empty lots into homes to thousands of new New Westminsterites. These new homes have brought a changing demographic, greater population of consumers for local business, and a foundation for future growth. Most importantly our location in the lower mainland, right in the middle of it all, will always be desirable. We have little if any extra land available which would suggest land value will continue on an upward trend.

Given the opportunity to sit down with the mayor I wanted to learn more about the ongoing projects, development we’ve seen completed, and the future direction of the city. We jumped from topic to topic, from issue to event, and shared thoughts on whats next for New West. My first note was regarding the passion and sense of excitement the mayor exuded when discussing his vision. I was told the focus at the outset was to be on all areas that were not up to their potential. Certain tactics and events were necessary to move the vision forward. Including successfully moving “the boat” out and new Starlight Casino in to Queensborough. As my enthusiasm for the cities growth is high I was comforted by the mayor’s being even greater. I felt he was very prideful of the strides we have made during his time as mayor and it was clear that he very much wants to see it through successfully. I also liked to hear the suggestion that he would go down to the potential site of a project and clearly explain his vision for it to any stakeholders. Who better to pitch the cities merits I thought.

We have an election upcoming and many challenges to tackle yet. That is without doubt. Along with our central Lower Mainland location comes traffic congestion issues that need serious discussion. We also desperately need a new high school – like, yesterday. However, from both my perspectives as a proud New West kid, and local Realtor, I am very happy with the change and development we’ve seen over the past 8 years. I believe this great investment is well deserved and long awaited by proud New Westminsterites. I’d like to see New West continue down this track, drawing in new blood, garnering investment, and building upon our civic pride. I’d like to see our mayor, Wayne Wright, continue leading us in that direction.

5 Replies to “Bullish on New West, and wondering what’s next”

  1. I share your enthusiasm for most of the growth and development that has occurred in New Westminster and look forward to the completion of developments like the Brewery District and Plaza 88. I live in Queensborough though, so I'm somewhat cautious about some of the development going on. I hope that the future is not all huge homes built to the boundaries of their lots and that some sense of Queensborough's rural past is retained. I also have mixed feelings about some of the retail development going on in QB. There's no grocery store here anymore, except for the one opening in Wal-Mart. With all the large, foreign companies moving in, like Lowe's, I hope there is still a future for local stores like Griff's. I think the city (council and staff) need to invest some time, effort and money into supporting local businesses. What makes New West unique is what will ensure its continued growth and development. So, development, yes, but keep our history in mind, always.

    1. I agree with you Sheila. Small business must be supported.
      Unlike Realtors and Developers who are thriving on New Wests growth, others are not!
      While I share Adams Vision and enthusiasm after his session with the Mayor, As a small business owner, I had a similar meeting over issues of concern around taxes, accountability, salaries, wages, consultant fees, lack of taxpayer representation and fiscal management. Somehow i never came away with that same enthusiasm. I do understand Adam's support of the Mayor's vision, however, I also understand why.

  2. Hey – I don't really like these articles (otherwise very well written) which end in stating support for any one candidate. I thought this blog tried to be non-partisan?
    While I don't necessari;ly disagree with the writer's slant, I would rather leave the campaigning out of this excellent blog – please!!!

    1. It is a good point, and well stated.
      TTTF has had articles by Susan Wandell in the past, Voice president Neil Powell and others. Candidate James Crosty and others have commented. Perhaps offering viewpoints from decided voters or various candidates could turn some off but I view it as all part of the flavour of an election. The article really is about the authors impressions of how the city has been changing but sure, it compliments the leadership of the incumbent.

      Thanks for the comment! Perhaps you would like to share a post on your views!

    2. Hi Keith,

      I'm glad you enjoy the articles on Tenth to the Fraser, and I'm very glad you commented, as I think many people misunderstand the nature of this site. We are non-partisan, in that we are not pledged to support any particular political party or group. We are not, however, unopinionated. One of the elements that makes Tenth to the Fraser different from a more traditional news site is that all of our writers are encouraged to fully disclose and even celebrate their biases. The opinions of each writer belong to them, and we don't restrict anyone from sharing comments that we (the editorial team) disagree with.

      This particular piece has been a work in progress for a long time, begun well before election season was upon us. Because of the timing of its completion and publication, I told Adam it was better for him to be up front about having come away supporting Wayne, rather than hiding behind a veil of impartiality. He came into the meeting curious about what the mayor stood for, and left convinced that it was the right path for the city. I think that's a story worth telling.

      I have been giving it a lot of thought whether to endorse specific candidates on this site and I have concluded that I would be letting my readers down if I did not share my honest assessments of the candidates once I make up my mind who's getting my vote.

      In all coverage of all-candidates' meetings and in the upcoming information I will share about the all-candidates surveys I deployed today, I will do my human best to be fair to all candidates. I am not beholden to anyone and I do not vote along party (or "electors group") lines, but I am in a unique position compared to most citizens because of the work I do on the blog. I have had the opportunity now to speak with every single candidate face to face, and many of them I have also been able to observe in action in the community and in council. Unfortunately, most voters don't get that privilege. Once I have made up my mind who I endorse, I will share my list and explain my rationale. My husband Will, who co-founded the site, and Jen, who is my right-hand-gal here, will do the same. We will share who we all support and honourable mentions, supported by some but not all of us. And the key part is that through all of this we will explain why. We will also ask our commenters to do the same, because everyone has a different perspective on these things, and I think we can all learn from each other.

      I hope that clarifies things Keith, and I hope you will continue reading!


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